BREAKING: Whitmer defends revised stay-at-home order despite Michigander backlash

Per Mlive, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended her “stay home” order amid criticism from Republic legislators and small businesses, saying she is prioritizing Michigan’s “health and safety.”

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, ripped into Whitmer in a social media post Friday, criticizing the order’s extension as “destroying our health by ruining our livelihoods.” The governor prolonged the order until April 30 in an announcement Thursday, April 9.

“We must continue to have restrictions on social distancing…but there’s room for much-needed common sense,” Shirkey said in a phone interview with MLive. “Businesses are proving that they can walk and chew gum at the same time and are capable of protecting their customers, suppliers and employees.”

Her office justified her strict measures by citing continued increases and deaths from COVID-19.

“As of yesterday, the state had over 22,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 1,200 deaths,” her office said in a statement to MLive. “Protecting the health and safety of the people of Michigan remains the governor’s number one priority. She has worked closely with Speaker (Lee) Chatfield and Sen. Shirkey throughout this emergency, and will continue to do so. We welcome constructive participation from the legislature, but the priority must be on taking actions to slow the spread of this virus and keep Michiganders safe.”

Business Insider reports Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is leading one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, has extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 1.

The order also included some measures not seen in other states, like how big-box stores can’t sell “nonessential” items such as gardening supplies or paint. But the chunk of the stay-at-home order that really isn’t sitting well with some Michiganders is that travel “between residences” will also be banned as of April 11.

As summertime nears in the typically freezing state in the Upper Midwest, residents who own cottages in Northern Michigan — called “Up North” by locals — typically take a weekend in spring to reopen their cottage. (Save for skiing enthusiasts, most cottage owners steer clear of Northern Michigan during the winter because it’s exceptionally cold.)

Others might have been planning to head to their second homes as the coronavirus slams much of Lower Michigan, particularly the Metro Detroit area.

Owning a cottage Up North, or at least visiting one, is a timeworn tradition for most Michiganders. And unlike, say, the swanky reputation places like The Hamptons might have, owning a second home Up North isn’t exclusive to Michigan’s wealthy. Many chunks of the scenic region have low property values, so even middle-class folks in the state, including automotive factory workers, can save up for a cottage.

Following the news of the travel crackdown from Whitmer, many Michiganders took to Twitter to express their displeasure and confusion around the law.

“I feel like I live in a communist country with her restrictions,” one Twitter user said.